Islamic State militants have abducted at least 70 Assyrian Christians, including women and children, after overrunning a string of villages in northeastern Syria, two activist groups said Tuesday.Christianity has existed in Syria since Paul the Apostle's revelation on the road to Damascus--hundreds of years before the birth of Muhammad.
The extremist fighters swept through the villages nestled along the banks of the Khabur River near the town of Tal Tamr in Hassakeh province around dawn on Monday. The area is predominantly inhabited by Assyrians, an indigenous Christian people who trace their roots back to the ancient Mesopotamians.
In the assault, the militants took between 70 and 100 Assyrians captive, said Nuri Kino, the head of the activist group A Demand For Action, which focuses on religious minorities in the Middle East. He said some 3,000 people managed to flee the onslaught and have sought refuge in the cities of Hassakeh and Qamishli.